Bil Browning

Mixner Calls for Townhalls to Choose New HRC Ex Dir

Filed By Bil Browning | October 22, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: David Mixner, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, townhall meetings

Well, this is an interesting idea... Veteran activist David Mixner writes that the Human Rights Campaign should hold a series of townhall meetings David Mixner addresses the National Equality Marchto get community input on the selection of a new Executive Director.

You would be hard put to find someone in the LGBT community that doens't have an opinion - positive or negative - about HRC. No matter what your personal views the fact remains it is a huge presence in our community and the work done there impacts the entire community. They have tremendous resources and great credibility in many different communities and political circles.

Who they select as their next president is not only important to the continued health and well-being of the organization but it impacts the entire LGBT community.

There is no question that they will proceed with a professional search for their new leader. They will hire an Executive Search firm, consult with their Board members and I am sure many others in their vast network. However wouldn't it be both really smart and also genuinely a right move if they held town meetings where anyone can come and express where they think the organization needs to go at this stage of history? They could pick out six locations that would be sure to be reflective of all segments of the community from rural areas to large cities.

So what do you think? Should it happen? Would it do any good? Or would the search committee ignore what the community has to say?

(Hat tip to Frontiers magazine)


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Well Bil I can't answer your question for anyone else but I am quite sure the HRC search committee would ignore any input from me.

Good idea, but once again the Devil is in the details.

Maybe they could impose a bit of self-selection by having $2500-per-plate dinners -- instead of messy town hall meetings, complete with noisy, smelly hoardes of the unwashed? Or maybe their six locations could be West Palm Beach, Bel Air, the Hamptons, Oprah's back yard, the top of Trump Tower ... you get the idea.

Every good idea can be corrupted if we work at it hard enough ... and sorry if my skepticism is showing.

Wilberforce1 | October 23, 2011 4:27 PM

It's hopeless. The community are obsessed with looks and wouldn't know cometence if it were naked on a disco float. And the 'professional search' will only choose another player less in gay rights than in making a social splash at the next correspondents dinner.

LOL!, I have volunteered to be the president of HRC! I would do it for Only $100,000.00 plus travel and laundry expenses! Gone would be the outrageously expensive suits! HRC would also have to do something! Not just fund-raise! or Have expensive Lunches & Dinners! I would try to reach out to and work with as many community groups as possible! Actually let them have some money instead of taking money from them! One of the best things about me is that I am not well known so maybe I might be able to fit in and lead! Do I really think HRC or the crowd hanging in good status would allow me to be the leader? ---- NO WAY-----! HRC=Professional search NOT!

Um... how many corporations decide their leadership based on a townhall? Can we fire Unilever's CEO via town hall? Maybe we don't like how BP handled the oil spill... can we pick a new CEO for them in a town hall and force them to hire this new person? Mixner says HRC affects the whole community, but it's also hard to deny that most huge corporations affect entire populations who have no say in who leads them. It's not really an argument (in the US; German corporations are required to have labor leaders on their board).

The sooner we stop thinking of HRC as a grassroots activist organization and start thinking of it as a corporation selling influence and feel-goodness, the sooner we'll be able to understand the organization's limitations and build alternative community structures.

Rachel Bellum | October 23, 2011 9:17 PM

On the a shallow level it would be a good PR move within the community and probably make the org appear to be more representative to those outside the community. I'm surprised large orgs aren't doing this already now that it's been brought up.

Personally I would like to see it happen. In the manner Alex alluded to by referring to German corporate board standard, I would like to see US corporation made more responsible to their employees and the public.

Bil, would you like your little corner of the world decided by town hall meetings? I'm not knocking Mr. Mixner, but I'm surprised he would advocate this sort of thing. If a multi-million dollar non-profit chose its CEO this way, I'd probably respect them less, not more. Now, if he's talking about a "listening tour" kind of thing, that's all fine and dandy, I suppose. But it would hardly still the drumbeat of negativity that will ALWAYS be produced by a certain minority of "community" members.

I'd agree with you completely, Om. "Listening tour?" Awesome idea. Trying to pick a new leader via townhalls? Ridiculously complicated and hopeless.